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Story below by Ian Guerin
Getting to the top of the Grand Strand golf echelon isn’t easy. Competition is fierce. Different courses have varying selling points.
And let’s not forget that personal taste always prevails.
But with the following list (shown alphabetically), we’re confident we’ve put together a near-unanimous Top 10. These are the best of the best in the Myrtle Beach area. From here, it’s up to you to decide which one should have the ultimate bragging rights.
1. BAREFOOT RESORT DYE CLUB, NORTH MYRTLE BEACH
The Dye Club has all the bells and whistles. From the tour-worthy range balls awaiting all players to the club scrubbing at the end of the round and all the shots in between, Dye has set itself apart. Even with the annual Monday After the Masters celebrity pro-am and the national recognition attached to it, the Dye Club lives up to its lofty reputation.
2. CALDEDONIA GOLF AND FISH CLUB, PAWLEYS ISLAND
Thankfully, Mike Strantz didn’t pull the proverbial mic drop after his first solo course design. But after Caledonia Golf and Fish Club alone, he certainly could have walked away a legend. In the two-plus decades since it opened, all Caledonia has done is win essentially every major award and continue to embed itself into the memories of every visitor for years to come.
3. DUNES GOLF AND BEACH CLUB, MYRTLE BEACH
The area’s second course has sustained with an air of prestige similar to that of a fully private establishment. One of the Grand Strand’s best-manicured surfaces - touched up by Rees Jones in 2013 - lies atop a Robert Trent Jones design featuring thought-provoking play, a world-renowned No. 13 hole aptly nicknamed “Waterloo” and even a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean.
4. GRANDE DUNES RESORT COURSE, MYRTLE BEACH
The Intracoastal Waterway and the adjoining marina has added a scenic touch to the Grand Dunes Resort Course so few others can boast. And while the views are something to behold, how the Roger Rulewich Group layout incorporated the terrain is a sight in itself. Waterway bluffs line several holes, and a system of undulating fairways is nearly as impressive.
5. HERITAGE CLUB, PAWLEYS ISLAND
Built upon the former Midway and True Blue rice plantations, Heritage is one-part golf course, one-part visual paradise. The par-71 Dan Maples layout attracts repeat play because its combination of beauty - the Southern Colonial clubhouse backing up to extensive marshland, for starters - and top-notch conditions.
6. KING’S NORTH AT MYRTLE BEACH NATIONAL, MYRTLE BEACH
Arnold Palmer’s signature layout has drawn its share of attention for No. 6, also known as “The Gambler.” But to typecast King’s North as one really good hole would be akin to saying Palmer had one really good tournament. King’s North, redesigned in 1996, has earned spots among America’s top 100 courses and is always in the conversation among the Grand Strand’s best.
7. TIDEWATER GOLF CLUB, NORTH MYRTLE BEACH
For more than a quarter century, Tidewater has racked up award after award, and a trip to the North Strand course proves none of the ratings panels regularly honoring it are blowing smoke. Sandwiched between the Intracoastal Waterway and Cherry Grove Inlet, Tidewater inspires post-round debates questioning which sliver can be considered the signature hole.
8. TPC OF MYRTLE BEACH, MURRELLS INLET
No course in or around Myrtle Beach has a current PGA player’s name attached to it quite like TPC. The Tom Fazio design opened in 1999, and not long after, a budding Coastal Carolina University star named Dustin Johnson took a liking to the layout and eventually parked his golf school there. Think he does that for any old location?
9. TRUE BLUE GOLF CLUB, PAWLEYS ISLAND
How good was the Mike Strantz layout at Caledonia Golf and Fish Club? The property owners had him repeat the feat. True Blue has every bit the glitz and glamour. Unfettered imagination was put into use, with pristine conditions building toward one of the area’s best finishers, a par 4 bending slightly around pond and leading to the iconic blue-roofed clubhouse.
10. WORLD TOUR GOLF LINKS, MYRTLE BEACH
Who would have thought a replica course would be setting itself apart for its originality? At World Tour, where the slogan is “Around the World in 18 Holes,” some of the most notable and well-designed layouts from Earth’s famous clubs form this one-stop shop. St. Andrews, Pinehurst, Augusta National, Royal Troon and more all have a place at World Tour.